After those out there on the right expended so much energy trying to persuade the electorate that Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership were a bunch of anti-Semites, the last thing they needed was for someone out there on the right to spray all the hard work up the nearest wall by giving their endorsement to someone who really was an anti-Semite. But that is exactly what out comedy Foreign Secretary has done.
After last weekend’s elections in Hungary, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson did not pause to consider whether Viktor Orbán might be the most ideal target for his praise, telling his followers “Congratulations to Fidesz and Viktor Orban on winning the elections in Hungary. We look forward to working with our Hungarian friends to further develop our close partnership”. Crikey chaps!
Viktor Orbán shows exactly what he thinks of Bozza's backing
Peter Foster of the Telegraph - that would be the paper that provided Bozza with his diet of “chicken feed” for so many years - observed “The foreign secretary joins Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage, Matteo Salvini, Beatrix von Storch, Giorgia Meloni and Matteo Salvini in sending his congratulations to Viktor Orban”. Ouch!
Meanwhile, Patrick Kingsley of the New York Times laid out several reasons why Bozza should have exercised caution. “OSCE observers in Hungary have made a [preliminary] statement. In [summary]: 1) ‘Serious issues’ [with] ‘pervasive overlap’ [between] state & ruling party resources, undermining [opposition] ability to compete on equal basis. 2) Menacing rhetoric, state media bias & opaque financing ‘hindered voters’’ choice”.
There was more. “3) Dependence of Roma voters on [government] workfare schemes made them ‘vulnerable’ to vote-buying & intimidation. 4) Different voting procedures for Romanians/Serbians of Hungarian descent (who mostly vote Fidesz) & expats elsewhere ‘challenges principle’ of universal suffrage”. And what of European politicians?
Guy Verhofstadt also passed adverse comment on Bozza’s hasty endorsement. “Boris Johnson & others would be wise to read the OSCE's assessment of the Hungarian election before rushing to congratulate Fidesz & Orban for their sordid election campaign, which has shamed Europe”. Mainstream UK politicians were also unimpressed.
Chuka Umunna was one of their number. “You are the UK Foreign Secretary but you do not speak for the UK when you congratulate a far right party and leader that put the demonisation of immigrants front and centre of their campaign, never mind naked antisemitism, islamophobia and other hatred. A sickening tweet”.
Viktor Orbán is an unrepentant anti-Semite, forever frightening voters with the spectre of “powerful Jews”, which he usually dresses up as attacks on George Soros. He is also a virulent Islamophobe. The Board of Deputies of British Jews has said “We are very concerned at some of the messages at the heart of Viktor Orban’s election campaign, including his comments about ‘Muslim invaders’ and calling migrants ‘poison’”.
And on top of that, the elections give every sign of being less than totally free and fair. So it should not surprise anyone that Bozza is getting it in the neck right now.
But good of Theresa May to show, once again, that she’s too weak to sack the SOB.